What could be better than a completely improvised musical in which everything you see and hear is created before your very eyes? The addition of puppets of course! Impromptunes is a professional musical theatre company that skilfully improvise plots and songs to create truly unique and indeed memorable performances. As a apart of the Melbourne Fringe Festival this year, the group have teamed up with The Puppet Box to bring audiences an outrageously funny and playful season of shows.
Each show runs for one hour, and from start to finish every single moment is improvised. The audience play an integral role in creating the scenario in which the cast will develop, by choosing a title for the show. It can be absolutely anything, the more obscure the better! The opening night audience was eager and raring to get stuck in. The performers were bombarded by an overwhelming amount of suggestions from the audience, and decided upon “STAKE” the musical. Not “Steak”…however the performers made sure that all spellings of the word would be covered, they weren’t missing out on any opportunity to include some cheeky puns. Whomever’s suggestion is chosen then holds a special power, which can change the entire course of the show. The chosen audience member is given a magical triangle, in which they can ding once (and only once) during the show and never during a song. At the sound of that triangle, the performers will flip the entire show on its head, and add a new and unknown element. It really is a “plot twist” kind of moment. This component allowed for a sense of inclusion for the audience, we felt as if we held all of the power…muahaha! The energy in the room on opening night was electric. The audience was positively buzzing with anticipation of what was going to unfold in the next sixty minutes.
And absolutely no one was disappointed! A fabulously fast paced and light hearted show ensued, complete with hilarious puppet characters and witty banter. The cast were sensational, each exceedingly strong singers with fantastic comedic timing. They are an exceptionally talented bunch of individuals, with a great ability to work off of one another and connect onstage. The improvised songs were perhaps the most impressive, as the performers were able to develop clever rhymes, catchy choruses and hooks as well as vocal harmonies – all on the fly.
The performers are joined and supported onstage by an accompanist who improvises all of the music as well. He is able to follow the action that is taking place, lead the cast in and out of songs, and play gently underneath dialogue to assist in setting the scene, or building dramatic tension. The puppets add a greater sense of characterisation, and the actors can play around with accents and intriguing voices. Reoccurring jokes and gag lines kept the laughs rolling throughout the entire show. The performers were able to embrace any minor mishaps (although there were surprisingly few) relishing in awkward moments together onstage, making those instances even funnier. It was refreshing to watch such a fabulously fun and spontaneous group of performers truly enjoy themselves and their time together onstage.
Do yourself a favour and check it out. Cracking laughs, great fun – and you can enjoy a cheeky wine (or three) whilst watching the hilarity unfold. Seriously. What’s not to love?
Playing at the Butterfly Club until October 4th.